The mission of the Laura J. Niles Foundation is to encourage and support efforts to improve the lives of both people and animals.  The Foundation seeks to benefit animals, primarily dogs, through research, training, and adoption, especially where people and animals benefit simultaneously.  Additionally, the Foundation strives to nurture and assist individuals and facilities in leading responsible and productive lives by enabling them to help themselves.

Primary Program Interests

  • Animals – The Foundation is seeking ways to benefit animals, particularly dogs, and is especially interested in efforts that help animals and people simultaneously.  The Foundation is targeting areas that include specific medical research, animal adoption, search & rescue, assistance dogs, and similar fields of interest.  Currently, the Foundation does not consider spay/neuter programs to be a priority, given the limited funds it has available. 
  • Education – Included in this interest area are primary, secondary and higher education, and also special education, literacy and ethics.
  •  Economic Self-Sufficiency – This program area includes but is not limited to:  the encouragement and support of entrepreneurialism, mentoring, and job training initiatives.
  •  Disadvantaged Individuals – Interest here include assisting the underprivileged and individuals with disabilities.

Guiding Principles and Considerations

  • The goal of the Foundation’s Board is to pursue a deliberate and proactive course of “strategic philanthropy”
  • The Foundation favors programs addressing long-term solutions to the causes of problems, as distinguished from programs that simply treat the symptoms.
  • The Foundation puts added emphasis on programs and organizations that address the intersection of its various interests.
  • The Foundation encourages pilot initiatives that test new program models.
  • The Foundation has a particulate interest in organizations that promote collaborative efforts among groups and organizations.
  • Qualities sought by the Foundation in its grantee organizations are:  effective and dynamic personnel; passionate leadership; a bias against bureaucracy; prudent managements & governance practices; and commitment to results and overall assessment of program impact.

While this list is not exhaustive, requests that have little to do with these areas are only occasionally considered.